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Eddy Cue discusses challenges facing Apple in the TV space


While the topic du jour during Eddy Cue's Code Conference interview naturally centered on Apple's Beats acquisition, there were also some notable exchanges regarding Apple's burgeoning interest in the TV space.

As it stands today, Apple's involvement with TV begins and ends with the Apple TV. Long considered nothing more than an intriguing hobby product, the Apple TV has slowly but steadily grown in popularity and has become a notable success in its own right.

Cue relayed that Apple thus far has sold over 20 million Apple TV units and that the product is now a billion dollar per year business. Cue further added that Apple TV is "doing great" and that Apple plans on adding even more content this year.

Still, Cue believes there's much room for for improvement.

The reason there's so much interest in TV in general is that the TV experience sucks. All we have today is glorified DVRs. You still have to manage storage on your DVR. If I forget to do that I can't watch it. It's not the way your experience is with Apple TV.


The experience has been stuck. I wanted to watch TV on my iPad today. It's hard to do that. I think it can be a lot easier. I think there's a long way to go with TV.

That being the case, Cue was pointedly asked why Apple hasn't released a "TV that doesn't suck."

It's a good question that uninformed analysts often love asking, but as Cue went on to explain, maneuvering in the TV space is extremely complicated and fraught with a myriad of hurdles and logistical challenges.

"TV is hard," Cue stated. "There are no standards, either globally or locally. There are lots of right issues and it's a complicated landscape to solve."

Cue added that while some of the problems in and of themselves aren't terribly complex, finding solutions is tough because of all the varying corporate interests involved.

I'm not going into details but the problems aren't complicated. Solving them is complicated because there are lots of parties involved. Music is much easier because rights are pretty much set at this point. TV isn't there.

Also chiming on on the TV discussion was Beats co-founder and newly minted Apple employee, Jimmy Iovine. Iovine intimated that curation in the video space is just as important as it is in the realm of music.

"My biggest problem is with movies," Iovine said bluntly. "I was with my girlfriend the other day and her kids, and we were trying to watch a movie. It took us 20 minutes to try and find a movie to watch. We need curation."

Might this be a nod to Apple's future plans? It remains to be seen, but recall that Apple last summer purchased a video discovery startup called because they were reportedly impressed with the company's recommendation algorithm.

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